There’s a distinctly un-rockish tinge to the 2016 nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with soul, funk, hip-hop and disco all represented – though the disco nominees, Chic, are now up for a record 10th time.
NWA are on the list for the fourth time and the Spinners (aka the Detroit Spinners) for the third time. Chaka Khan, the JB’s and Janet Jackson make their first appearances.
At the rockier end of the spectrum, Deep Purple receive their third nomination. Also on the list are the Smiths, Los Lobos, the Cars, Nine Inch Nails, Cheap Trick, Chicago, Steve Miller and Yes.
Though fans have a small say in the induction process, a voting body of around 800 artists, music historians and music industry professionals carries the greatest weight in deciding which six artists will enter the Hall of Fame.
NWA, of course, are currently prominent following the release of their Straight Outta Compton biopic, and Dr Dre’s return as a solo artist with the album Compton. The most intriguing nominees, however, are the Smiths. The band were very consciously opposed to the machismo of rock’n’roll – Johnny Marr styled his hair into a beehive at one point – even as they borrowed from rock history. Moreover, it is hard to imagine Morrissey being willing to share a stage with the band’s rhythm section, Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, following their bitter court case over royalty payments, which Morrissey lost.
The most touching statement from one of the nominees was given by Conrad Lozano of Los Lobos, who said: “Never thought that something like this would ever happen to a little band from east LA. Maybe now we won’t have to pay to get in anymore!”